Care Home Week 18: An Enablement Approach

Continuing today’s Workforce theme of 2018 Care Home Week, it’s great to share an example of a new approach being taken in Aberdeen to train all front line staff, including those working in care homes, in supporting people to regain life skills and contribute positively to their quality of life.

About Aberdeen City’s Enablement Project

At the Care at Home conference recently, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Shona Robison, spoke about Hamish, who had been supported by Aberdeen City’s Enablement Project to develop his own interests and to become much more active in his daily life. Scottish Care in Aberdeen City has developed an approach to personalised planning and working with support teams to create enabling support plans, which focus on a whole person approach and the optimising of their abilities.

What is an enablement approach?
Enablement supports older people and people with disabilities and long-term conditions to regain and maintain their life skills. This approach motivates individuals to participate in their daily life activities. Evidence shows that using the Enablement approach leads to improved personal abilities and encourages people to see themselves as their best assets.

Scottish Care received funding to develop an enablement model in independent and third sector organisations. The project provided staff with training and support across care homes, care at home services, supported housing and community projects. The approach has been very effective and has brought about changes in practice and in services provided.

What do we do?
All front-line staff in an agency are trained to implement a whole person approach that supports the individual in the optimising of abilities. We promote a whole-system culture change to provide ’the right support for the right person at the right time’. Providers are supported to fully embed the model across the whole organisation.

Enabling Support Plans Which Transform Lives

This model of support is not time-limited and is open to anyone. In contrast to short term re-ablement models, which exclude a high percentage of people already in receipt of services, enabling support plans for those with complex needs work on a whole person model: sensory, physical, psychological, cognitive and environmental, and the benefits are significant.

Scottish Care’s Enablement Project in Aberdeen City employed a senior Occupational Therapist and a Project Lead to work with organisations in the older people sector to support whole system culture change in providing an Enablement approach. We focused on all staff and all clients to:

  • Deliver initial training on enablement
  • Provide on-site support for staff
  • Identify and embed the use of resources and tool kits
  • Provide expertise with links to relevant local and national projects
  • Collect qualitative and quantitative data to capture outcomes
  • Use case studies to evidence contribution and attribution
  • Explore links to both improved recruitment and retention in the sector.

Most service users in the organisations we worked with reduced their dependency levels. In care homes, there was a reduction in challenging behaviour and residents enjoyed increased activity and a better quality of life. Outcomes improved, in particular, for individuals with dementia and cognitive impairments.

  • Workers became skilled in assessing, task analysis, small-step goal setting and writing personalised support plans to deliver a consistent approach
  • Communication, reporting and supervision systems within the organisation and with partners improve
  • An Enablement module was developed and piloted
  • Partnerships were developed with other projects such as NHS Falls Programme, Medication Management, Walks for Life and Wellbeing Team.

The Enablement project is currently working in partnership with NHS Grampian staff to develop a foot care project in the West locality of Aberdeen.

Find out more here:

Julia White, Sha’yo Lai, Marnie Macdonald
Aberdeen City



Last Updated on 13th June 2018 by Scottish Care

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